The Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation  
of Charlottesville, VA Founded by Jay W. Johns in 1953
The Essay - The Amount and Distribution - Eligibility - How to Apply
Robert E. Lee

The Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation was founded in 1953 by the late Jay W. Johns, a successful Pennsylvania industrialist transplanted to Virginia, who became a great admirer of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.

The Foundation commemorates its namesakes’ shared belief in the importance of a well-educated populace by working to increase educational opportunities for Virginia’s youth. The Foundation has established a non-discriminatory scholarship program to encourage high school students to continue their education, and sponsors an annual essay competition to make its awards. Scholarships are awarded for outstanding original essays which demonstrate a carefully researched, well-reasoned examination of the historical legacy of Generals Lee and Jackson. Essays are judged by panels of educators, historians, and Foundation members who emphasize originality, historical accuracy, thorough research, thoughtful analysis, and clarity of written expression in their evaluations.

Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
The Essay

The length of the essay is not as important as the rigorous defense of a well-reasoned thesis. Past essays have addressed such topics as General Lee's or General Jackson's heritage and their lives at war and at peace, Jackson as tactician, Lee as a strategist, Lee's or Jackson's impact on modern battlefield tactics, Lee's faith, Jackson's religious fervor, Jackson the enigma, Lee on gentlemanly virtues, Lee as President of Washington College, or possible changes in the course of the Civil War had Jackson not died so early. These topics are examples only. The Foundation strongly encourages students to choose any fresh, relevant topic they find interesting. History and English teachers may be particularly useful resources for students as they develop their essays and complete their research.

Click Here to read last year's winning essay (53kb).

The Amount and Distribution of Scholarships

18 scholarships are available to public, private, and home school Virginia high school juniors and seniors submitting outstanding, original, analytical essays on any aspect--positive or negative--of the career, character, or legacy of General Robert E. Lee and/or General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

The Foundation will award one $2,000 scholarship and one $1,000 scholarship to students whose essays are judged to be the first place and second place winners in each of Virginia's eight public high school regions.

In addition, the Foundation will award one $2,000 scholarship and one $1,000 scholarship to private school or homeschooled students whose essays are judged to be the first and second place winners from this sector.

First place winners from each public school region and the first place winner from the home/private school sector will be judged together as a group by a panel appointed by the L-JEF board to determine the first, second, and third place winners overall from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Bonus scholarships of $10,000, $4,000, and $1,000 will be awarded to these three students. The overall third place winner in Virginia will receive a total award of $3,000, the second place winner will receive a total of $6,000, and the first place winner in the Commonwealth of Virginia will receive a total award of $12,000.

A $1,000 award will be given to a school in each of the nine judging sectors in the name of the high school teacher or advisor who sponsors the most participating students in that sector. Advisors must sponsor a minimum of 50 participating students to be eligible for this award.

Click Here to see a list of last year's winners (38kb).


Any junior or senior in a Virginia public or private high school or home school may apply. The student should not have received a Lee-Jackson scholarship in the past and must be a resident of Virginia who plans to attend an accredited four-year college or university in the United States as a full-time student. Students who intend to enroll in a community college must plan to enroll in the college transfer program of the community college. The contestant should demonstrate the natural ability to succeed in college and have a sincere desire to attend. Financial need is not a consideration.

How To Apply

Application packets are made available to all public and private high schools in Virginia in the fall of each year. Students may obtain an application form and a complete set of application guidelines including deadlines from their school principal or guidance counselor or by clicking here (170kb).

Public and private school students must complete the application form and file it with their school principal. Home school students should file their application form with their parent or guardian. The application must be accompanied by an essay on either General Lee or General Jackson, or both. Deadlines for completion of essays and submission to principals or parents/guardians is generally in early February.

For more information, please contact:

The Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation
P.O. Box 8121
Charlottesville, VA 22906

Copyright © 2000-2018, The Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation